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‘We all live on campus now’

“We all live on campus now.”

That was the observation made by venerable writer Andrew Sullivan about the state of affairs Americans find themselves in today.

The comment was in response to another observation made by journalist Tim Carney: “Remember 6 years ago when conservatives would point at the censorious college PC woke leftists and say ‘LOL, those kids are in for a rude awakening they enter the real world.’ That was always wrong. It was the rest of us who needed to brace for them.”

They’re sentiments that The College Fix has offered for years: what happens in higher education matters. It reverberates. It has consequences — far-reaching ones.

Sullivan and Carney could have been talking about a lot of topics: violent riots (UC Berkeley in 2017, anyone?); cancel culture (pick a week); the call to “defund the police” (a.k.a. critical race theory).

But in this case they were talking about the New York Times’ decision to reform its op-ed policy after running a column by a Republican U.S. senator that was wildly unpopular among the left.

New York Times writer Bari Weiss put the problem like this: “I’ve been mocked by many people over the past few years for writing about the campus culture wars. They told me it was a sideshow. But this was always why it mattered: The people who graduated from those campuses would rise to power inside key institutions and transform them.”

Similar sentiments were offered by scholar and writer Shadi Hamid: “Remember all those commentators and journalists who smugly informed us that the Woke craziness and suppression of campus speech was being overhyped and it was just a few overzealous students? They’ll never admit they’re wrong. But they were very, very wrong.”

And writer Stephen Miller noted: “Entitled Jr 20 something employees are making demands of their employers just like they did in sit ins of their college deans offices. Fun to watch happen in real time. They get what they deserve.”

The College Fix has often chronicled how social justice has infected campus journalism, most recently pointing out how the Middlebury College student newspaper has pledged to censor photos of activists.

The Daily Northwestern made headlines when it apologized in November for taking photos of and interviewing left-wing protesters furious over a campus event that featured Jeff Sessions, claiming their journalistic actions caused harm.

In 2017, we reported how Evergreen State College’s student newspaper includes a no-whites-allowed opinion section, and in 2019 we noted a decision by the University of Connecticut’s student newspaper to dedicate a column exclusively to marginalized groups.

In echoes of activism, in 2016 after Wesleyan University’s student newspaper published an op-ed criticizing Black Lives Matter, the student government defunded the Argus twice.

And more recently, last November, Harvard University’s student government made headlines when it passed a resolution agreeing that the Crimson’s decision to ask Immigration and Customs Enforcement for comment about a story concerning the agency was dangerous to undocumented students on campus.

It should be clear that what happens on campus is a precursor of things to come, from the suppression of free speech to everything else. Today’s campus social justice warriors are tomorrow’s New York Times editors.

IMAGE: Osugi / Shutterstock

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

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